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2002 Falcor Sangiovese, Napa

As I uncorked this wine and let it aerate a while, as I do with all Sangiovese, something was nagging at me. Where had I heard the name "falcor" before? Was it the name of some fictional soap opera town? No, no, that was Falcon Crest. Even after several glasses, my relaxed mind still could not place it. So it was off to Google I went, and there it was. Of course. Only one of the most important books of my adolescence, and I had managed to forget already.

Falcor the Luckdragon is one of the central characters in the Neverending Story, perhaps one of the greatest escapes ever written for young, nerdy children like myself.

There's no acknowledgement or reference to this children's book anywhere on the Web site of Falcor Wine Cellars, so perhaps it's just a coincidence of naming on the part of Michael Bee and Jim Peterson who started the label in 1995 in collaboration with winemaker Ray Coursen, most recently of Elyse.

Together these three purchase grapes on contract with various growers in Napa to produce small lots of highly crafted wines. In addition to this Sangiovese, which has just recently been released, they also make a Napa Chardonnay and a Meritage blend they call "La Bijou."

This wine is fully 20% Cabernet, which explains the expressive, extracted fruit in the tasting notes below -- quite uncharacteristic of Sangiovese, yet certainly appealing. It was fermented with natural yeasts, and it has been aged in French oak that was turned into barrels in Piemonte, Italy. 365 cases made.

It's quite an impressive effort and is probably the best Super Tuscan style wine I've had from Napa.

Tasting Notes
This wine is a deep gorgeous ruby in the glass with a highly perfumed nose of cherry and sweet oak. In the mouth it is surprisingly extracted and round with bright cherry and plum flavors and barely perceptible tannins that leave the slightest dusty velvet on the edges of the cheeks. Clearly the Cabernet is rounding out the Sangiovese. The finish is decent but not memorable other than for its slight hint of orange zest.

Food Pairing
This is a great wine to pair with all sorts of italian food as well and general home cooking. I drank this bottle happily with potato and cheese ravioli with fresh tomato sauce.

Overall Score: 8.5/9

How Much?: $29

I get mine in a club shipment from Porthos, but it looks like they haven't started selling them online yet.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud